The Stallions of Burkina Faso will be seeking to start a new chapter as they embark on their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa ™ preliminary campaign as they attempt to set aside the disappointment of recent qualifying failures.
The Burkinabe begin a new era by turning to Portuguese coach Paulo Duarte and a new talented generation players, exemplified by the recent Olympique Marseille signing Charles Kabore and the German-based Jonathan Pitroipa, subject of much recent transfer speculation.
The team made a weak bid to reach the 2008 Cup of Nations finals, finishing way off the pace in their group and finding themselves on the receiving end of a humiliating defeat from regional rivals Senegal in their last qualifying game in September.
In the Germany 2006 qualification process, they received an unexpected free pass into the group stage when their opening round contestant, the Central African Republic, withdrew from the competition. This gave the West Africans, who were at that stage ranked 14th on the continent, the certainty that their name would be in the hat when the Preliminary Draw for the 2006 finals was made.
They got off to a flying start, beating Ghana 1-0 in their opening match and laying down a marker for their Group 2 adversaries South Africa, Cape Verde Islands, Congo DR and Uganda. Football fans in Burkina Faso were full of optimism based on the rise of the Stallions towards the top of African football in recent years.
The victory train began to come off the rails with two defeats to Cape Verde, and with a record of two wins and three losses, Burkina Faso were up against it at the half-way stage. Frenchman Bernard Simondi took over the coaching reins from Ivica Todorov and made the team harder to beat at home, even recording wins over South Africa and Congo DR, but in the end it was not quite enough.
Burkina Faso are now hoping to profit from the spoils of the country's youngsters, who finished a highly credible third at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago 2001.